Fetal Surgery Saved Lives Of My Unborn Twin Daughters With Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)


My husband Chad and I had difficulties getting pregnant, so you can imagine our shock and surprise when our 9-week ultrasound revealed 2 tiny beating hearts. We were having TWINS!

18.5 weeks into my pregnancy, I went in for what I thought to be a routine 19-week ultrasound. Sensing something was terribly wrong, my OB/GYN immediately sent us to Houston and Texas Children’s Fetal Center from our home in nearby College Station. We were so overwhelmed and frightened by the unknown situation we were facing, but a calming hour-long phone call from a Texas Children’s nurse eased some of my anxiety and answered many of my questions before we even made the trip.

The following day, the Fetal Center formally diagnosed my girls with stage III twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), a complication where there is unbalanced blood flow from one twin to the other. If left untreated, I would have certainly lost the babies.

By 2:00 p.m., I was in surgery to correct this grave situation. I still remember the panic I felt signing those final forms, but knew I was being operated on by the best of the best. The doctors were able to surgically correct the imbalance in utero with a procedure uses a small camera to locate the abnormal blood vessel connections and treat the problem by sealing the abnormal connections with lasers.

Twin to twin transfusion patients, Ellliott twinsNearly 3 months later — Annabelle and Andie were born healthy and strong at 32 weeks at Texas Children’s Hospital. Annabelle weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces and Andie weighed 1 pound, 9 ounces. Although it seems like just yesterday they were born, the girls recently celebrated their 5th birthday!

It is so exciting for them to see themselves in advertisements and on billboards. What an incredible opportunity for our family! We are so blessed and are grateful to Texas Children’s Fetal Center for saving both of their lives.
Elliott twins with billboard

About Shana Elliott, Mother of Patients

I am the mother of beautiful twin girls, Annabelle and Andie. After receiving the shocking news of expecting twins almost 6 years ago, our doctors discovered the severe condition of Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

I am so grateful to the team at Texas Children’s Fetal Center for giving me the opportunity to share their miraculous story.

Posted in Fetal Center, Guest Post, Pregnancy, Surgery, Videos

6 Responses to Fetal Surgery Saved Lives Of My Unborn Twin Daughters With Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)

  1. You have a beautiful family! I can’t imagine what you felt, but I’m so glad you were able to get help and that the girls are thriving! Stories like yours reaffirm my decision to become a neonatologist – I hope to have such a positive impact on my future patients!

  2. Gina says:

    Wow! You are truly blest. Your girls are beautiful! I love working for TCH where miracles do happen!

  3. Stacey says:

    I am actually in this same boat right now. I just had the TTTS procedure done this past Thursday. Both twins survived the procedure but now I have separation of the membrane so I am walking on egg shells to make sure I do not go into early labor. We are taking it week by week and praying I make it to 32 weeks

    • Laura says:

      Hi Stacey
      We are in a very similiar situation as you….just had laser surgery last week at 18wk 2 d and now i am on bedrest bc of separation of membrane. I am 19wk 4d now and hoping and praying that these boys hold tight. Hang in there and sending you happy thoughts!

  4. Angie says:

    I am 18 weeks pregnant with fraternal girls so I don’t think TTTS is one of the risks for fraternal twins but I do know how scary and overwhelming a twin pregnancy can be. Thank God your babies got through it and are doing well and beautiful at that! I wish all the mommies going through twin pregnancy all the luck and blessings in the world!! And I agree with Stacey, all you can do is take it one day at a time and pray that you make it to a good date. God bless!

  5. Shana Elliott says:

    Thank you for your kind posts and wishes! We are very lucky and Annabelle and Andie are happy and thriving. I just enrolled them in kindergarten today!! Best of luck to those of you who are going through the same, my prayers are with you all.

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